Top News

Submissions continue in class-action case against military

Submissions continued to be heard Friday on the second day of a two-day hearing to approve a proposed $900 million settlement of a military sexual misconduct class action.

The hearing is taking place at the Federal Court in Ottawa.

Halifax law firm Wagners filed a national class action in November 2016 on behalf of representative plaintiff Glynis Rogers, a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Rogers alleged she experienced systemic sexual misconduct and sexual assault during her time in the military.

Rogers was at the hearing Friday with lawyers from Wagners, four other firms from across Canada forming the class counsel consortium, and other representative plaintiffs.

The Federal Court justice hearing the submissions intends to reserve his decision on whether he approves the proposed settlement as being fair and reasonable and in the best interest of the class, Wagners said in a release.

The proposed settlement applies to current and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces, current and former employees of Department of National Defence, and staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces who have experienced sexual misconduct.

The proposed settlement will provide compensation to eligible class members for sexual harassment, sexual assault, and discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.

If approved, the award of $900 million will be distributed to eligible class members. The range of compensation is estimated to be between $5,000 and a maximum of about $178,000, depending on the number of claims that come forward and individual circumstances of class members.

The $900 million does not include the cost of legal fees and the costs of administering the settlement, which is estimated to take place over approximately two years to give class members time to prepare their claims and avail themselves of the supports being offered. The judge is also being asked to approve payment of legal fees.

In addition to compensation, there are several non-monetary measures being implemented if the settlement is approved.

These include changes to Veterans Affairs Canada’s policies on assessing claims arising from sexual misconduct, including eliminating the need for corroborative evidence. Also, a new policy would mean that no claim for disability will be rejected purely on the basis that the event in question occurred off Forces property or where attendance by the class member was optional.

There would also be changes to the definition of sexual harassment and increased support to survivors of sexual misconduct.

“Attending the settlement approval hearing was a bit surreal. I am glad class members had the opportunity to speak and tell their stories ...,” Rogers said in the release. “I hope this will provide closure for many people. I recognize that transforming the culture in an organization as large as the CAF will take time, but I am optimistic the restorative engagement programs established by this settlement will stimulate this change.”

Ray Wagner of Wagners said in the release that he admires “the courage of Glynis Rogers in coming forward to publicly tell her story for the sake of advancing institutional change for others. This courage has helped contribute to a settlement that achieves more than any legal victory in a courtroom ever could.”

Recent Stories